The walk to spatial alignment systems takes a solid 50 minutes at a leisurely pace through crew quarters and storage sections in-between. I run into various crew members going about their business. Some of them seem genuinely friendly and give me a happy greeting, especially after noticing my citizen producer arm patches. Even though I should still be in the storage area between the crew section and spatial alignment, the level of construction along with open spaces that house a large number of machines makes me do a double take. The terminal map system should stay up to date as construction progresses, but I’m certain that the map didn’t indicate this. I discreetly pull the camera out of my pocket and latch it to my belt like a personal communication device. Before doing that I set the camera to a wide angle video recording mode and start it up.
As I enter Spatial Alignment, the entire area has the sheen of newly finished construction and recently installed machines. This area has a security restriction placed on it, however my bio signature is recognized by the base Governmental Computer System. I was given unrestricted Citizen’s Right-To-Know access before the start of my trip and it seems to have worked as planned. These integral monitoring systems are advanced and well locked down from a technical standpoint, so station personnel cannot simply restrict my movement if the computer system says that I am allowed access.
All countermeasures are directly tied to and managed by this computer system. I’m a bit perplexed because the spatial alignment systems area shouldn’t require upgrades to provide such a basic, yet necessary, station function. What could be the purpose for these upgrades? Most of the systems appear to be offline, but near ready for use. I’m not sure these upgrades are directly tied to continuous Government refurbishment plans. It’s time to head back, after letting my camera record as much as possible.
As I start to head back, the lights begin to dim down. I suspect this is some form of off-hours protocol. The hall lighting goes into a power-save mode that dims down ambient light to a minimum and turns on red floor lights. This makes navigating the storage area a bit more difficult. It isn’t simply a direct path back to my room and the lighting change exasperates the problem. I hear a clanking of shoes. The sound becomes louder and louder until I see a silhouette in the distance heading toward my direction and I toward theirs. Once close enough, I see that it is an unusual looking man with silver hair, yet who is surprisingly young looking in his facial features. The poor lighting makes it difficult to fully discern his features, but something isn’t quite right about him. We both pause and stand in front of each other at a junction of 5 corridors. About four awkward seconds later, he starts to speak.
“I was the one who added that message directly to the local memory of your terminal. My official work here deals with maintenance, so gaining access to your quarters before the locks were bio-initialized was simple enough. I’m called Levin. I am one of the Government’s monitors. They sent me here disguised as a temporary worker last week to check up on things as discreetly as possible. As I said before, my contacts who should be stationed here are not contactable. I suspect whatever situation this station is in will affect you as much as me. I’ve already noticed a watchful eye on my activities, yet I’m unable to exit the station or even contact my superiors through the network. All means of communication are being firewalled with a system I’m not familiar with.”
“I see. What do you want of me? Or was this just a friendly warning among new buddies?” Sarcasm probably isn’t the best route here, but I want to see how he reacts.
“The Government and citizens need each other to survive. Find out what you can. Considering your permissions level as a producer, you should be able to access most of the station without flagging security. Earlier, I saw your schedule on the terminal and will meet you tomorrow in the secondary loading bay, also called the planetary viewing center. Bring any information that you have.”
That’s odd, he ignored or completely dodged my sarcastic tone. Anyway, I think it is best if I don’t reveal anything to Levin just yet. I need to confirm his story. While it isn’t unheard of to be approached by Government monitors, this is my first time experiencing it. I don’t quite know what to expect. However, the odd looks and mannerisms do fit past descriptions some of my fellow producers have written in their Government related articles. I don’t think he would have tried to access Spatial Alignment because that could blow his cover, so he probably doesn’t know the strange situation there. I’ll hold off on mentioning that until tomorrow.
“Levin, I’ll see what I can do. What is your official Government ID information?”
He hands me a data module.
“If you have access to a tool that can validate governmental codes, this will prove sufficient. Return it to me tomorrow at the secondary loading bay.”
“Alright, I’ll do that.”
We take our leave from each other, heading in opposite directions. I give him a quick nod as I briskly walk back toward my room. I’m not sure what to think at this point, but one thing’s for certain, something major is happening here that the Government isn’t yet privy to. Every citizen has heard about small anti-Government factions through the standard media channels and producer reports, but if this station is part of it, this could be big… really big.